1980, Motörhead - Ace of Spades


I bought the "Ace of Spades" record late November 1980, based on a review in ze German magazine "MusicExpress". The record actually received 4/5 stars, but the review was funny. Line like "The band touches the late 70´s Punks and let the long hair drift" or " what a brutal sound they have despite a bad tape copy" or " 12 songs, briefly said: machine guns in use. Than I saw the cover and I looked in the mirror and I realised: this band is my deputy, a deputy for a timid 14 years old guy from the countryside with acne in his face and boring clothes out of boring warehouse shops. This record and this band was the biggest influence in my personal life in the 80´s. And it still lingers on.

"Ace of Spades" is a brilliant structured record. You have four pillars: the two first and last songs of album. Actually, you just had to hear them - during vinyl times - and you took the decision to buy this record. Why these songs? Lemmy starts to sing within the first 15 seconds and the song is on. "(We are) The Road Crew" and "Fire, Fire" fade out, the two others have the same coda (Emaj). So this is an organic, well-defined whole.


Why this structure? During the 70´s and 80´s you could listen to records before you were forced to buy them in the record shop. There were two different ways to listen to records:

1. If the clerk had time, he skipped into the songs for a bit.

2. If the clerk hadn´t enough time, he played the first and the last song of a record´s side.

Imagine: 1980, 14 years, the cover of Ace of Spades and you will hear "Ace of Spades" and "We are the road crew" flat out loud and music on flat out speed.


"Ace of Spades", "Fire, Fire" and "The Hammer" have almost similar riffs and the same chords in their composition. Actually they sound like "I have an idea: let´s start the song in Emaj, do the solo in Amaj and return to Emaj" Yes, Motörhead did it with small differences.

Side 1

first song

last song

Side 2

first song

last song

Why isn´t this record boring?

You have a modern interpretation, means, a faster type of pure rock´n roll song on both sides. Four pure rock´n roll songs with Fast Eddies actually retro sound combined with Philthy Animal´s powerful drumming and Lemmy´s rhythm bass played with powerchords. These four songs are actually a retrospective and at the same time an introduction into classic Rock´n Roll. No one of these mentioned songs sound like Priest´s "British Steel" or some Sabbath stuff.

And this record showed, what will be possible for Punks and Metalheads, if they ad Philthy Animals drumming to Punk or Heavy Metal. A few years later, the Punks had their D-Beat, the Metalheads suddenly had Thrash-, Speed- or Black Metal, we had bass-player fronted bands like Venom, Destruction, Sodom, to tame a few. For us, the fans, our bands looked like their fans and we felt as one unity.

It´s pure fun listen to these tracks and their lyrics.  

"Love me like a reptile" is a perfect description of being fascinating and yukky at the same time. Like reptiles are.

"Live to win" is almost zen buddism to believe in your strengh and skills despite all the shit around you.

"Dance" put the dot on i what Rock´n Roll is like.

And "Bite the Bullet" advices you to leave when the relation doesn´t fit. A short good-bye in a short song.

Shredded songs with actually critical lyrics. The self-ironic "Shoot you in the back" about "The riders wearing black and they´re fools, live by their own rules. In the western movies". How were Motörhead dressed? But they were pure gentlemen

Or about having sex with adolscent girls in the backstage in the track "Jailbait". To enjoy a forbidden thing. Imagine, nobody blamed them for this, and Lemmy´s lyrics describe perfectly the lingering fear to get arrested for having sex with adolescents or with no okay. In times of a raging and angry society there will be no more clear okay.

Nobody wrote about this and nobody in the music scene wrote about abused women as Lemmy did. (Like in the song "Don´t let daddy kiss me")

Actually, it would have been better to put this song on the record than on a B-side. It also fits to the machismo in extremis of "The Case is better than the Catch". But this song forced you to buy the "Ace of Spades"- single to complet your collection of fantastic songs.

A song, who just blow away AC/DC stomping rock, despite their release of "Back in Black" some months before. "The Chase is better than the Catch" comes out of a  far more souvereign man than all the teenage lyrics of AC/DC. 

Chats and speech on a studio record

It´s usualy that a band talks with the audience during a concert or sometimes they announce the next song. But what´s this between "Fire, Fire" and "Jailbait"? Lemmy obviously burps, Eddie means: "Stop wincing about" and Phil counts the song in. You felt like being in the studio with your favorite band without going to a concert. Great.

"Bite the Bullet" starts, stops and Lemmy is shouting "You can go on. That was right" So the the song starts again and you get the feeling about Motörhead songs were written. 

My favorite one is the bugle before "The Hammer". A kid´s toy to introduce the rawest, fastest song on the record with his most traumatic lyrics.

Sound effects

You find clapping spoons to imitate tap dancing some seconds before "And don´t forget the joker".

A vibra slap was used to imitate a rattlesnake´s tail in "Love me like a reptile"

And.. of course Eddie´s famous stumple during the solo for "We are the road crew", which creates a huge feedback

Ever thought of hearing some maracas in "The Hammer"? Go for it.